Bookkeeper stole $1M from SC business: feds

Marie C. Delgado


Karen Rhett was the bookkeeper at a South Carolina actual estate company for the much better section of 25 several years, according to federal court paperwork.

She was also embezzling from it, prosecutors claimed.

A federal choose sentenced the 59-yr-previous to a few yrs in jail on Monday, April 4, just after she pleaded guilty to felony fees very last 12 months. She was also purchased to shell out 3 several years on supervised launch and spend restitution.

Rhett’s defense lawyer did not right away react to McClatchy News’ request for comment on April 6. But he said in court filings that she took entire accountability for the theft right after the FBI showed up at her household in Mount Enjoyable, just outside of Charleston, in 2020.

“Painfully, and with deep sorrow, she admits that she took advantage of her position of have confidence in as a bookkeeper,” mentioned George Rutledge DuRant, who represented Rhett. “She admits that her theft was enduring and started prolonged in the past with a relatively little total of income. It escalated with time. The far more she stole, the more durable it grew to become to stop.”

In accordance to court documents, Rhett worked for Simmons Realty Enterprise, a authentic estate agency run by David and Elizabeth Simmons.

“It took 3 lengthy a long time of monotonous investigative operate by the spouse and children and a forensic accountant (former IRS Particular Agent) to uncover this innovative and intricate fraudulent scheme,” Bart Daniel, who represented the Simmons, explained to McClatchy News in a statement. “The Simmons Household is relieved that justice has last but not least been served.”

Prosecutors mentioned Rhett oversaw the company’s accounting and enterprise records and was “in a posture of trust” when she allegedly started siphoning off dollars.

She is accused of transferring funds to herself, usually moving the funds concerning other business entities in advance of it sooner or later landed in her account. Rhett also made up business enterprise invoices for bogus costs and wrote checks to herself before recording the payments as reputable, the government explained.

The Simmons at some point fired her, and FBI agents frequented Rhett at household in July 2020, court files condition.

According to her lawyer, Rhett confessed to the embezzlement the following month and began cooperating with federal investigators.

“It should really be understood that Karen produced the conclusion to confess fully on her own and swiftly, within just 1 7 days of the F.B.I. knocking upon the door of her property,” her lawyer mentioned.

Rhett bought the 4,000-square-foot house she shared with her partner and daughter for $982,000 in December 2020, according to authentic estate listings. Her lawyer reported she wrote a look at for restitution totaling $640,633 and submitted it to the court docket in January 2021.

Rhett was billed by criminal information and pleaded responsible to fees of wire fraud and earning false statements, court docket files show. Her lawyer reported she was fired from her new occupation at a holistic diet shop when news of the guilty plea broke in April 2021.

Rhett subsequently started a business, Cupcake Bouquets by Karen, by way of which she bakes and sells “delicious and inventive, mainly floral in design, cupcakes,” her attorney reported.

From August 2021 to February 2022, he claimed, she has offered $3,648 truly worth of cupcakes.

“Karen is confident that Cupcake Bouquets by Karen, LLC would pay for her the implies by which she can make significant payments towards whole restitution,” her lawyer said in sentencing documents. “In conditions of getting on new orders and making this small business as it stands now, Karen has been cautious not to choose on much too numerous new orders or to expand far too swiftly as her imminent potential is, at most effective, uncertain.”

Rhett’s lawyer had asked the judge to sentence her to a interval of household confinement, pointing in section to her struggles with depression given that the rates came to light and a the latest diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.

He also mentioned it is significant for Rhett to be residence with her 21-year-previous daughter, who has reportedly struggled with her individual psychological health following a quick-lived profession as a singer-songwriter. In accordance to sentencing documents, her daughter formerly sang at “various east coast school gymnasiums and effectiveness halls with a information in opposition to bullying” as a teenager.

Rhett submitted six letters of help penned by her therapist and many relatives members also contacting for leniency.

“Karen has experienced the penalties of a self-imposed sentence, disgrace and guilt before her good friends and relatives and the whole group,” her law firm stated. “She has endured the loss of virtually her each possession and she has suffered the continuous agony of dim despair. She has been punished seriously by now.”

At sentencing, the judge advised Rhett provide her prison sentence at FPC Alderson in West Virginia so that she can obtain healthcare treatment method. The moment she is launched, the choose barred her from obtaining any contact with the victims.

The volume of restitution she owes is outlined as “TBD” in the court docket.

This tale was at first published April 6, 2022 6:33 PM.

Profile Image of Hayley Fowler

Hayley Fowler is a reporter at The Charlotte Observer masking breaking and real-time news throughout North and South Carolina. She has a journalism degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and beforehand labored as a lawful reporter in New York City in advance of becoming a member of the Observer in 2019.


Source website link

Next Post

Will Amazon Ban “Ethics”? | The Business Ethics Blog

[ad_1] A new report from The Intercept suggests that a new in-household messaging application for Amazon employees could ban a extended string of phrases, such as “ethics.” Most of the terms on the list are kinds that a disgruntled staff would use — phrases like “union” and “compensation” and “pay […]